Censorship and Two Types of Self-Censorship

The Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (Cpnss), London School of Economics (2010)

Authors
Philip Cook
University of Edinburgh
Conrad Heilmann
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Abstract
We propose and defend a distinction between two types of self-censorship: public and private. In public self-censorship, individuals restrain their expressive attitudes in response to public censors. In private self-censorship, individuals do so in the absence of public censorship. We argue for this distinction by introducing a general model which allows us to identify, describe, and compare a wide range of censorship regimes. The model explicates the interaction between censors and censees and yields the distinction between two types of self-censorship. In public self-censorship, the censee aligns her expression of attitudes according to the public censor. In private self-censorship, the roles of censor and censee are fullled by the same agent. The distinction has repercussions for normative analysis: principles of free speech can only be invoked in cases of public self-censorship.
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